General Johnson, lead singer for the Detroit soul act Chairmen of the Board and a Grammy-winning R&B songwriter, died Oct. 13. He was 67.
Latter-day Chairmen member Ken Knox announced Johnson’s passing on the group’s Facebook page. The cause of death is unknown. However, the band’s website had announced in August that Johnson had knee surgery with updates.
After breaking in with the Showmen (who recorded the rock ‘n’ roll anthem “It Will Stand”), Norfolk, Va.,-born Johnson founded the Chairmen of the Board with Danny Woods of the Showmen, ex-Lee Andrews and the Hearts vocalist Eddie Curtis and former Stone Soul Children member Harrison Kennedy.
The group signed with Detroit-based Invictus Records, operated by former Motown songwriters Lamont Dozier and Brian and Eddie Holland. Their first hit “Give Me Just a Little More Time” was a No. 3 pop smash and No. 8 R&B entry in 1970. Their other top 10 R&B singles included “Pay to the Piper” (No. 4, 1970), “Chairman of the Board” (No. 10, 1971) and “Finders Keepers” (No. 7, 1973).
Johnson recorded for Arista as a solo artist in the late ’70s.
He also distinguished himself as a writer for others. In 1971, Johnson shared a Grammy for rhythm and blues song with Ronald Dunbar for Clarence Carter’s hit “Patches.” He also penned the Honey Cone’s “Want Ads” (1970) and “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” (1971) and Freda Payne’s “Bring the Boys Home” (1971).
In later years, the reconfigured Chairmen of the Board were based in Charlotte, N.C., and sustained regional popularity among fans of the old-school soul known as “beach music.”
Survivors include a son.